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This week, rising eleventh and twelfth graders spending time at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are learning how to harvest light’s energy to produce carbon dioxide-neutral fuel.

The activity is part of a weeklong summer program called Eastman High School Introduction to Engineering Systems (HITES). The program takes place July 14-19 and is geared for rising eleventh and twelfth graders to explore engineering and campus life at UT. They must have at least a B average in both math and science to apply, math and science recommendations, and a completed application with essay questions. They must also have taken the ACT/SAT prior.

The media are invited to attend the chemical engineering design project session from 9:00-11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 17, in the Science and Engineering Research Facility (SERF) room 408 and Dougherty Hall room 328. Students will learn how to build genetic devices and transform biomass into fuels. Please contact Travis Griffin at 974-1931 or travisg@utk.edu if you plan to attend.

“Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the disciplines offered for career options,” said Travis Griffin, director of the Engineering Diversity Program Office, which coordinates the summer programs. “Sessions may include meeting with faculty and graduate students, learning about emphasis areas in each discipline, touring research labs, or participating in an experiment or activity.”

The thirty participants stay in Hess residential hall and are exposed to all seven engineering departments, an engineering design project, ACT/SAT math preparation, and an understanding of what engineers do. They also attend college life sessions on financial aid, campus life, and how to apply to the college.

“The students will have unique opportunities to participate in fun, exciting, and highly educational hands-on activities through the engineering design projects,” said Cong Trinh, an assistant professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering and engineering design lab instructor. “For example, students will learn how to explore catalysts at the atomic and molecular levels and test them for their unique functions such as energy generation.”

HITES has provided a summer engineering experience since 2001. A majority of participants end up enrolling in engineering at the university. UT Engineering hosts a total of five weeks on campus for middle and high school students, with more than 150 participants this summer.

This year, HITES is sponsored by Eastman Chemical, including the activities and funding for engineering undergraduate students who serve as counselors.

“Eastman recognizes the impact the HITES program has on regional high school students by allowing them to apply the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) principles learned in the classroom on interactive design projects,” said Paul Shane, manager of global talent acquisition at Eastman Chemical. “We are honored to support and participate in this program and applaud UT for hosting programs like HITES in order to expose and excite children of all ages to pursue technical disciplines.”

For more details on these summer engineering programs, visit the College of Engineering website.

C O N T A C T:

Travis Griffin (865-974-1931, travisg@utk.edu)

Kim Cowart (865-974-0686, kcowart@utk.edu)

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)